The University of Massachusetts Amherst


If you have a blog, website, Facebook page or other way to share information on the Internet, you also have a rich source of information that you should think about saving for the future.

Archiving tips

Select your important files:

  • Locate all your content on the Web, including personal websites and social media sites and services. Be sure to include current information as well as any older (archived) content.
  • Decide which information has long-term value.  You can pick individual pieces of information or you can select whole pages or websites.

Export your files:

  • If saving a limited amount of information, you can use the "save as" command in your web browser to export the website as individual files orsave as PDF if data would be useful in that format.
  • If saving entire pages or sites, check into automatically exporting them as a series of linked files,  i.e. HTTRACK
  • Save metadata for your Web content information, such as site name or date created.

Organize your files:

  • Give individual files descriptive file names.
  • Create a directory/folder structure on your computer to put the saved information.
  • Write a brief summary of the directory structure and its files.

Save files in formats that are optimal for long-term preservation:

  • Save web pages as HTML files or save as PDF if data would be useful in that format.
  • If saving entire pages or sites, check into automatically exporting them as a series of linked files,  i.e. HTTRACK

Make copies and manage them in different places:

  • Keep multiple copies of your email files in different locations and on different media forms to ensure the best chance of long-term preservation.
  • One copy may remain on your computer, but putting several other copies on separate media such as DVDs, CDs, portable hard drives, thumb drives or Internet storage will be the best protection against loss. 
  • Store copies in different locations that are as physically far apart as practical. If disaster strikes one location, your audio recordings in the other place should be safe.
  • To be as safe as possible create 2 copies of your email files. Put one away as your master copy without modifying it at all and use the other one for editing, emailing, etc. When you need another copy to use, make a copy of the master file and work with the copy. 

Long-term storage is a key element in preserving your files. It is important to realize that no storage medium is permanent in the digital environment. Any storage medium used will require some maintenance to keep its contents viable for the longest period possible.

Currently the most common media used for long-term storage are:

  • CD/DVD – common form of storage and cheap.  (Optical media will face longevity issues, so this should be a considered a short-term solution)
  • USB drive – very common storage method and relatively inexpensive
  • External hard drive – Holds large volumes of material and is a bit more expensive.
  • Internet/Cloud storage – generally subscription-based for a respectable amount of space

Check files and refresh storage media on a regular basis:

  • Check your saved files at least once a year to make sure you can read them and that they are still relevant and worth continued archiving.
  • Create new media copies every five years or when necessary to avoid data loss.

Migrate files to newer formats if needed:

  • Attempt to stay current with major shifts in standards, software, hardware, platforms, and formats to ensure that your files are in a common, readable format.